Give students a copy of the Armband worksheet, and have them cut it out.
(Tip: Have Sellotape on hand for this exercise! early!)
Ask tamariki to pair up, or place them in pairs. They’ll each get a minute to ask questions, and a minute to answer questions. Ask them to decide who’ll ask questions first.
Before you start, say the goal is to get to know as much about their partner as you can.
Give the first person their minute; then tell them to switch.
Once the second minute is up, ask each person to choose one topic they felt was interesting about the other person. If their partner is okay with that topic, write this on their armband. E.g. ‘Dogs’. Then ask pairs to take a small piece of tape each, and to help each other to secure their armband in place (around their upper arm).
Before moving on, ask:
- What it was like being the questioner.
- Was it hard to think of questions?
- Did anyone run out?
- What it was like being questioned – probably much like interrogation!
Ask tamariki to swap over again, but this time the person asking the questions should look really bored! They might yawn, talk slowly, look away, pretend to use a cellphone.
Try this for a very short time, then get them to switch.
Stop and ask:
- What was this like? Especially for the person being questioned.
- How did their first conversations compare to this one?
They’ll come up with all the answers you need to move into how to be a great listener and have a great conversation,
Some tips for great conversations that you may want to highlight:
- Find a topic the other person is interested in (we don’t have to know anything about it ourselves!). In this case the work is done for us, because a good topic to ask about is on their armband!
- Ask follow-up questions: This gives the person a chance to tell you something more. E.g. if they like dogs you could ask “So why do you like dogs?” “What is it you like most about them?” “Do you have a dog?” “What kind of dog do you like best” “Why do you like that kind?” “Is there anything you don’t like about them?”
- Try “why” and “what” questions as these lead to the person saying more than just “yes” or “no”.
- Ask yourself: “What do they want me to know?” This reminds us to listen, and to ask questions that open the door for them to tell us interesting things.
- Repeat or summarise what the person is saying back to them, to check you’ve got it right and give them a chance to add new information.
Try it out!
Make sure tamariki have their topic armbands on, then ask them to form 2 circles (of equal numbers) one on the inside of the other, like a doughnut.
Ask the inner and outer circles to face each other so everyone has a partner (you might join in if you have an odd number).
For fun, get the circles to move in opposite directions, one clockwise, one anti-clockwise, to gain new pairings. Say “freeze!”
Give them 30 seconds to chat with the person they’re facing and learn as much about their topic as possible. Repeat so both parties have a turn listening / asking questions, then get the circles to spin again, saying Freeze at a new spot.
Continue until you’ve completed two or three pair matches.
Regroup, and ask some tamariki:
What was their most interesting discovery about the people they talked to?
Repeat the initial questions:
- What was it like to be the questioner?
- Was it easier once you focused on one topic?
- What about being asked questions?
- Did it seem like the person was listening more?
Ask tamariki whether they might keep practising this skill, and let them know you will return to this activity.
Now they know what to do, you can use this as a quick 10-minute warm-up exercise anytime!